By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
Final, 7-4 Bruins: Brad Marchand, backhand flip into the empty net with less than a minute to go. It’s on to the second round for the Boston Bruins.
Third period, 2:00, 6-4 Bruins: Two minutes to go. Two-goal lead. The TD Garden is feeling it.
Third period, 8:21, 6-4 Bruins: It felt like the Bruins might need another one. And they got it.
It started with Chara stopping a puck at his own blue line and sending an indirect pass to Pastrnak. Instead of rifling it into the zone, he chipped it into the zone to let Marchand win a foot race. Bergeron ended up getting the puck out to the slot, where Pastrnak patiently walked in and waited for Andersen to go down. He rifled it into the net, and this place went nuts. It’s looking good for Boston now, after a dicey second period.
Third period, 9:28, 5-4 Bruins: The Bruins are hanging on to their lead by icing the puck as much as possible. It’s what Toronto did for the second period, and they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Rask has made a few stops for Boston here in the third — three, to be exact — and the Bruins’ hard work is obvious as they try to limit the quality of chances for Toronto. It feeeeels like one more goal might be needed. Just been one of those nights. But we shall see.
Third period, 14:35, 5-4 Bruins: Jake. DeBrusk.
DeBrusk has been flying around all night, and he just created a big-time go-ahead goal in a Game 7 all by himself. He took a puck from Krejci at his own blue line, exploded up the right wing and while getting hauled down to the ice he got enough on a puck to muscle it through Andersen.
The Boston Bruins have a lead. They have to protect it now.
Third period, 16:19, 4-4: More matchig minors. This time the Bruins had a power play coming after Bozak tackled Nash in front of the net. But they got Nash with a retaliatory cross-check when the B”s were possessing with the extra skater on and the arm raised. Big break for Toronto.
Third period, 18:50, 4-4: It took all of four seconds of 4-on-4 play for the Bruins to strike. Torey Krug uncorked a missile from the blue line after a faceoff win by Bergeron and a pass from Miller.
Tie game. Nineteen minutes to play.
Third period, 18:54, 4-3 Maple Leafs: Matching minor penalties here after a Marchand-Hyman scrap in the neutral zone. Hyman and Krejci end up heading to their respective boxes, with a faceoff upcoming in the Toronto end.
Third period, 20:00, 4-3 Maple Leafs: Twenty minutes. Here we go.
End of second period, 4-3 Maple Leafs: The second period comes to an end with David Backes stapling Auston Matthews to the boards, but that’s hardly anything for the Bruins to feel great about as they head to the locker room.
The second period was much like the majority of the series — the Bruins dominated in shots, while the Leafs dominated on the scoreboard. The Bruins landed 13 shots on net but failed to score. The Leafs scored twice on just six shots on net. The Bruins had 20 shot attempts to Toronto’s 13, which would theoretically indicate good control of the puck. But that wasn’t really the case. Andersen made a couple of nice saves on Krug when the Bruins were on the power play, but didn’t have to do too much. As a result, he seems to have regained some of his confidence. Rask? Not so much.
Rask has stopped just 12 of Toronto’s 16 shots on net. As has been mentioned before, none were “soft” or “weak” or any of that, but hockey remains a bottom line business. And the bottom line is that in the last three-and-a-half periods on Boston ice, Rask has allowed eight goals on 29 shots.
If something along those lines is indeed how this season ends, then you can guarantee the summer in Boston will be spent discussing the goaltender quite a bit.
Second period, 1:27, 4-3 Maple Leafs: The Leafs are a patient bunch. They were content to send about a half-dozen pucks down the ice for icing, and by the end of a long sequence of nothing, they were able to generate about a minute of zone time and a couple of quality scoring opportunities to boot.
Boston just hasn’t responded well since falling behind. They really need a shot in the arm.
Second period, 7:20, 4-3 Maple Leafs: Mustn’t have been too bad for McQuaid. He’s back on the bench.
Second period, 8:41, 4-3 Maple Leafs: Adam McQuaid just suffered an injury while diving to break up a breakaway bid. It was unclear what he might have hurt. Could have been a wrist. He was holding his chest. He hit the boards a bit hard. But he did break up the partial breakaway.
The building’s certainly … quieter than it had been earlier. Bruins need a goal badly to try to turn this thing. One goal the other way, and the tension is going to turn into that bad tension.
Tuukka Rask certainly could have made a save on Marleau’s second goal, but for a guy who’s allowed four goals on 14 shots, he’s not been a trainwreck. Even still, if he allows one more, even if it deflects off a teammate’s skate, Cassidy will probably have to make the switch. And a move like that would probably be a bit of a downer for the home crowd.
Andersen has made a couple of big saves this evening, but his rebound control has been abysmal. He’s been leaking pucks to the goalmouth all night. You have to think the Bruins will bury one of those at some point.
Second period, 13:55, 4-3 Maple Leafs: Trouble for Boston. Andersen came up with a pair of great saves on Rask, and when play shifted down the other end of the ice, Marchand wiped out, leaving Kasperi Kapanen all alone — and I mean all alone — on Rask. Kapanen showed incredible poise in pulling a shootout move on Rask, tapping the puck just around Rask’s outstreched left toe. And the Leafs have a lead.
Second period, 15:04, 3-3: The Bruins are heading to the power play. Plekanec goes off for interference. The veteran thought he could get away with that one in a Game 7 … but Brad Marchand wiping out into the boards forced the ref’s hand.
Second period, 17:53, 3-3: It is all tied up.
Kevan Miller wiped out in the neutral zone (I believe on Pastrnak’s broken stick), allowing the Leafs to enter the zone. They maintained possession for a bit, and after Pastrnak couldn’t clear the puck, Dermott sent a shot through traffic to the top corner of Rask’s glove side.
The wildness continues.
Toronto has three goals on 11 shots.
Second period, 19:04, 3-2 Bruins: The Leafs just oddly left Marchand all alone to operate behind the net. He eventually cycled it to the point, and Miller fired a point shot on net with Bergeron screening in front. The Leafs were a little lax there.
Second period, 20:00, 3-2 Bruins: Second period, underway.
End of first period, 3-2 Bruins: That was a wild one. Everyone needs a breather right now. Goodness gracious.
Shots are 12-10 in favor of Boston. Shot attempts are about even: 20 for the Leafs, 18 for Boston. Hits are even at 12 apiece. Kevan Miller leads the way with three hits for Boston.
He deserves a lot of credit for that wide shot that set up Bergeron’s goal. He wasn’t going to beat Andersen there cleanly from 45 feet, so he wisely put it in a spot that wouldn’t get blocked and might cause some issues for the Leafs. It worked out well.
First period, 36.4 seconds, 3-2 Bruins: Patrice Bergeron has put the Bruins up just before intermission.
Kevan Miller fired wide of the night from the right point, and it bounced out the other side, where Bergeron casually chipped it past a sprawling Andersen.
First period, 5:29, 2-2: The Bruins killed the penalty. Zdeno Chara had a big time shot block on Marner, who was firing from inside the right dot. Big time shot block from the captain.
Just after Nash exited the box, the Leafs had a promising 2-on-2 rush, but David Krejci was battling Connor Brown and kept the forward’s stick off the ice to negate the chance.
Down the other end, Nash tried to pull a Nash-like deke-fest to create an opportunity. He ended up losing the puck, but Krejci fired a shot toward Andersen, who scrambled and fumbled the rebound a couple of times. He eventually covered up.
First period, 8:30, 2-2: The Leafs are heading back on the power play. Rick Nash goes off for high sticking. Huge two minutes upcoming for both teams here.
First period, 8:55, 2-2: Morgan Rielly is down. He just took a Zdeno Chara one-timed slap shot to the face. It wasn’t a full bullet from Chara, as he didn’t get it off cleanly, but that still stings.
He’s off to the dressing room now, and he’d be a big loss for the Leafs if he can’t return. For now, they’re cleaning blood off the ice.
Brad Marchand barely ducked out of the way in time to avoid that one.
First period, 10:50, 2-2: This is absolutely bananas. Danton Heinen just tied the game.
One moment after Andersen stoned Krejci from in front, Heinen pounced ont he rebound in the slot and spun to wrist it past Andersen. What a start to a Game 7.
First period, 13:47, 2-1 Maple Leafs: The Leafs got it right back. Marleau again. Torey Krug turned it over in his own end, and a bouncing puck found its way to Mitch Marner’s stick in the slot. He pivoted and passed to Marleau, down low on the right faceoff circle, and he wristed one up high over Rask’s shoulder. Wild start to this one.
Rask had his shoulder dipped just too low on that shot, which fit right under the crossbar to the far side.
More action before the first TV timeout than most people anticipated.
First period, 15:13, 1-1: Tie game.
Morgan Rielly took a delay of game penalty, and it looked like a Torey Krug shot squirted through Andersen and across the line. Maybe it did, but play continued. Eventually, Jake DeBrusk redirected a Pastrnak feed past Andersen, and this one’s all tied up.
First period, 17:55, 1-0 Maple Leafs: The Leafs had a brutal power play going, until they didn’t. A point shot from Gardiner was redirected in front by Marleau, and the Leafs are up 1-0.
First period, 19:30, 0-0: Leafs are going to the power play early. Sean Kuraly goes for two minutes for tripping Jake Gardiner behind the Toronto net.
First period, 20:00: We are underway in Boston.
7:32 p.m.: No surprises in the Bruins lineup. Danton Heinen is back in, Tommy Wingels is out, and Ryan Donato remains on the ninth floor.
We’ll get the opening faceoff between Sean Kuraly and Tomas Plekanec in about five minutes.
6:55 p.m.: All the eyes of the hockey world will be fixed squarely on the TD Garden ice this evening. There are no other games on the NHL schedule this evening, and there were no games last night either. Tonight’s Game 7 in Boston is truly on center stage for anybody who cares about hockey.
Those watching with a rooting interest in the Boston Bruins ought to hope to be seeing some activity and traffic in front of Frederik Andersen. The Bruins have simply made life too easy for the Leafs’ netminder, and the results have shown. Ever since he allowed three goals on five shots in Game 2, he’s stopped 132 of 141 shots — good for a .936 save percentage. The Bruins have scored just nine goals in four games. That’s not good enough.
It’s no coincidence that Boston’s lone goal of Game 6 came when Andersen was screened. That particular screen was provided by Andersen’s own teammate, Ron Hainsey, so the Bruins don’t get any credit for that one. If they want to bring about some different results, they’re going to have to bother the 6-foot-4 Dane. That will mean meeting him at the top of his crease, flying by his line of vision, redirecting shots, and being in position to bury rebounds. They just haven’t been doing enough of it, and if they don’t score a dirty goal or two this evening, their season could come to a crashing end.
2 p.m.: It’s that time of year again. Time for another Game 7 for the Boston Bruins.
It’s been a while since the Bruins found themselves in this situation. Four years to be exact. But there was a time from 2008 through 2014 where games of this magnitude were happening at least once ever year. The results have been … mixed.
But this year’s team has a chance to write its own story for how this Game 7 goes. While the Bruins as a team have to feel frustrated with the fact that they’re in this position, they can erase all of that displeasure with a solid 60-minute team effort against the Maple Leafs in this game. That’s been missing over the past two contests, and anything short of excellence for Boston has resulted in losses.
You could break this down a million different ways, if you wanted to. You could call for the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line to lead the way. You could ask for more out of Rick Nash. You could demand that Tuukka Rask stand on his head. You could politely request that the Bruins solve Frederik Andersen, contain Mitch Marner, and finally overwhelm a defensive corps that was not supposed to be this good. But really, none of it will matter much once the game begins. It ought to be chaotic.
And once that chaos begins, it’ll all be covered right here in the live blog. Check back for updates from pregame warmups, official lineup decision, as well as detailed analysis of the action from the start of the game until the final second, as we all learn whether the Bruins’ season will continue on to Tampa Bay or whether it will be ended prematurely by the Maple Leafs.